Lorenzo Villoresi is a famous Italian perfumer. He won the prestigious Prix Francois Coty award for 2006, in recognition of his achievements in the field of perfume. The popular perfumer, whose clients include Sting and Cherie Blair did not originally choose creating scents as his career.
Villoresi studied the classics and Ancient Greek and Mesopotamian culture and mythology at university. He wrote his thesis on academic thesis on the role of death in ancient Judaic and Hellenic traditions, and traveled extensively throughout the Middle East. Heavily influenced by his mother’s memories of her time in Cairo where she owned a shop, he became fascinated by the perfumeries of the area, which contained essential oils and spices. He became impressed with their warmth and hospitality and wanted to create the same kind of tradition in the West, combining this with the medieval Italian art of creating fragrances. Villoresi studied the history of perfume and began to learn how to create unusual scents. As he was the son of an aristocratic family, which owned a palazzo in Florence and a villa in the Tuscan countryside, and he had a degree in philosophy, starting a perfume business was an unusual choice of career.
Lorenzo Villoresi had noticed the ancient resins used in the Middle East, such as myrrh and frankincense, and began to use these in his perfumes. His perfume, Incensi, is entirely based on these ancient resins. He also likes to use essential oils and spices, such as lavender, and Tuscan ingredients like laurel, olive wood, and cypress. He originally started creating simple blends of ingredients and progressed to more complicated ones.
Villoresi’s big break came when the famous Italian fashion house, Fendi, commissioned his new firm to make pot-pourris and scented candles. In 1993 he released his first collection of perfumes and eau de toilettes, including Uomo and Donna.
Villoresi is probably most famous for his custom-made perfumes. These only take him two hours to produce. During this time he attempts to discover the ‘essence’ of the person for whom he is creating the special fragrance and asks them to choose ingredients. He tests these one by one on the person’s skin in his medieval palazetto which overlooks the Arno in Florence.